Rays Lose 4-3 to Angels, Drop Out of First In East

The Rays dropped the opener of a three game set against the Angels, continuing their curse of losing nearly every Friday night this season.

The team lost, but it certainly wasn't because of Wade Davis. The rookie went six innings, allowed two earned runs, and struck out eight batters while walking just one. The only inning he had trouble was the third when he allowed a double, single, and double which scored two runs and put the Angels up 3-1. Davis' best pitch on the night was his four seam fastball. He threw it 76 times out of his 113 pitches and registering 71% strikes with it, seven swinging. Davis would collect 11 swinging strikes overall, which is a very encouraging sign as the schedule winds down.

On the other hand, the offense did not do much against Dan Haren. He struck out 10 Rays in his seven innings, making a few batters look down right foolish in the process. The three earned runs he allowed are slightly misleading. One run - the home run by Dan Johnson - was totally Haren's fault, but the two runs that scored on Carl Crawford's triple in the 6th inning were dubious at best thanks to the defense of Bobby Abreu. Actually, calling what Abreu did "defense" is an insult to the word. If a normally abled outfielder were in Abreu's place I'm pretty certain that Crawford does not end up with a triple on that ball. Enjoy life as a DH in 2011, Bobby.

I'm sure most of the discussion of this game will center around Dan Wheeler giving up a ninth inning home run to Brandon Wood that put the Angels up 4-3. It's unfortunate that the home run happened, but I'll take that matchup every day of the week. Wheeler is very good against right handed batters. His career FIP against righties is 3.48, and it's 3.49 this season. Brandon Wood has a hole in his bat the size of the Grand Canyon, it just so happens that luck did not favor the Rays this time and he hit one out.

The bigger mistake may have been Maddon not pinch hitting for Jason Bartlett with two men on and two out in the 7th inning. It was a perfect opportunity to take advantage of the expanded rosters and call upon Brad Hawpe. Bartlett is not good against right handed pitching - especially someone like Dan Haren - while Hawpe is. Bartlett struck out swinging to end the threat.

The Rays dropped out of first thanks to the Orioles blowing a save against the Yankees. Tonight will bring David Price to the mound against Joel Pineiro. You will not be able to see the game on TV thanks to the post game concert, so come out to the Trop if you can.

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